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American Civil War: Resources in Special Collections

A guide to resources on the American Civil War using materials from the University of Maryland Special Collections in Hornbake Library.

Special Collections and University Archives at UMD


Special Collections and University Archives is committed to acquiring, preserving, and providing access to primary and secondary source materials that support the educational and research mission of the University. Our collections cover a wide range of topics that enrich scholarly opportunities for the University’s students, faculty, and staff as well as those of the state, national and international communities.


The Maryland Room, located in Hornbake Library, is the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives. We welcome students, faculty, visiting researchers, and the general public to visit the Maryland Room to view our collections in person or explore digitized material online.

Contact us or visit the Maryland Room to speak with a librarian and learn more about how our collections can support your research.

What are special collections?


Special collections contain both primary and secondary resource materials that have characteristics which set them apart from other types of collections in libraries. These qualities may include:

  • Rarity: books, manuscripts and other materials which are old, scarce or unique.
  • Format: photographs, slides, films, audio and video recordings, maps, artworks, artifacts and other objects that require special handling.
  • Comprehensiveness: accumulations of materials that are individually not unique, but collectively comprise an important resource because of their relevance to a particular topic or individual.

Because of these qualities, special collections are not readily replaceable, and require a higher level of security and special preservation environments to insure their survival.  Therefore, special collection materials are located in closed stacks areas, where they are retrieved by staff for researchers in our reading room.